Top 5 Ways You're Killing Your Beers
Beer is a beloved beverage enjoyed by millions around the world. Whether it’s a cold pint after a long day, a refreshing sip during a sporting event or a way to unwind with friends, beer is a staple in many social situations. However, with all things consumable (yea – beer is totally a food product), it’s natural to wonder if beer expires – and if so, when.
The simple answer is yes – beer can expire. (Helpful hint – there is almost no occasion where beer can make you ‘sick’ from being old or mishandled – so this is another reason to love beer.)
While the can (or bottle or pint) you love will likely have a best before date printed on there somewhere – there are a few situations where you can do some damage to the beer inside. Also as a general rule – beer is at it’s best when it hits the tap or the truck out of the brewery – so drink it fresh!
Beer has 4 main enemies: Time, Heat and Oxygen and Light.
Put bluntly – Old beer is bad. Heat is especially destructive for your beers. And the O2 we breathe isn’t doing it any good either. There are a few terms we may have heard before when it comes to bad beer – and all them come from one of the situations above.
Skunked or Skunky (which is a wildly hard to explain concept in Australia where there are no skunks!) – This is what happens when beer is exposed to UV rays (Light). Just like an apple turns brown and starts to change when you cut it open – when the hops in beer are exposed to light, they can start to turn brown and emit a foul odour, one that is reminiscent of a skunk. This phenomenon is pretty limited to beers in clear bottles – and even fridge lights will do the trick. (So every time you flick the top off of a bottle of Corona, you’ll be greeted by textbook ‘skunked’ beer.) What you need to know – Clear bottles protect beer 0% from light. Green bottles protect beer 20% from light. Brown bottles protect beer 98% from light. Cans protect beer 100% from light.
The older a beer gets, the more it absorbs the (teensy, weensy bit of) oxygen in the can or keg. Just like leaving anything out exposed to air, it starts to go stale over time. This flavour can be picked up as papery or wet cardboard – or even sometimes as sherry notes like aged wine.
And the worst thing you can do for beer is to let it get hot – and in the Aussie summer, this one gets harder to avoid. Heat essentially accelerates the aging process. So every hour you leave your case of beer in the boot on a summer day – you’re putting the delicious drop at risk. One day in the boot over 30 degrees is like aging the beer one month.
Common misconception – you can’t take your beer out of the fridge and store it back on the shelf. You can do this – but make sure the spot you’re keeping your beer stays under 16 degrees or so to prolong its life.
Oh – and we did say there were FIVE things you were doing to destroy your beer, right?
Here are things that destroy beer:
- YOU destroying a pint at 5pm today!